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Reproductive factors in hereditary breast cancer

  • Helena Jernström
  • Oskar T Johannsson
  • Niklas Loman
  • Åke Borg
  • Håkan Olsson
Publishing year: 1999
Language: English
Pages: 295-301
Publication/Series: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
Volume: 58
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

BACKGROUND: An early age at menarche, a short menstrual cycle length, and a high age at first full term pregnancy or nulliparity are known risk factors for breast cancer. These risk factors have previously been reported to differ between breast cancer patients with and without a family history of breast cancer and also between breast cancer patients and controls. METHODS: Self-administered questionnaires were filled out by 95 women belonging to 24 families with known BRCA1 mutations, 16 women belonging to nine families with known BRCA2 mutations, and 95 women belonging to 65 families with hereditary breast cancer where no BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations could be detected. Thirty-nine women were BRCA1 mutation carriers and 56 women were BRCA1 negative, 11 women were BRCA2 carriers and five BRCA2 negative. All women were born between 1905 and 1979. RESULTS: Age at menarche, physiological menstrual cycle length at age 30 or at current age in younger women (when not using oral contraceptives), age at first full term pregnancy, and nulliparity did not significantly differ between BRCA1 mutation carriers and BRCA1 negative women. Too few women were BRCA2 negative to serve as a control group. BRCA2 mutation carriers were therefore compared with BRCA1 negative and BRCA2 negative women. None of the above reproductive factors did significantly differ between BRCA2 mutation carriers and from BRCA1 and BRCA2 families. Women from non-BRCA1/BRCA2 hereditary breast cancer families had a higher age at menarche, but this was no longer significant after adjustment for other factors in a multivariate model. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that reproductive risk factors of breast cancer are not related to BRCA1 or BRCA2 carrier status. There was also no indication that these factors differ in carriers of unknown susceptibility genes compared with non-carriers from BRCA1 and BRCA2 families.


  • Cancer and Oncology
  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • hereditary breast cancer
  • reproductive factors


  • ISSN: 1573-7217
Åke Borg
Åke Borg
E-mail: ake [dot] borg [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Principal investigator

Oncology and Pathology, MV

+46 46 275 25 52

MV 404 C21B2


Project manager

Familial Breast Cancer



Oncology and Pathology, MV

MV 404 C21C2